Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

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All Lined Up (Rusk University #1)
    by: Cora Carmack

Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 320 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated.

Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

Now this is what I love in New Adult! Cora Carmack done such a great job of creating relatable, realistic characters as well as issues that any college student could potentially encounter. The college atmosphere is one of my favorite settings and I loved seeing the interaction on and off campus, at the stadium, etc. I knew NOTHING about football upon reaching the University of Tennessee. Which is a big no-no in the land of orange and white. Unlike Dallas, I didn't abhor it, but I didn't care much for it either. Yet, there is something so indescribable about walking into the stadium and just being apart of the hype. I will never forget what it was like to beat Florida back in.... 2004? I can't remember. It still gives me chills to this day. At these southern schools, football is LIFE. Being a huge football fan now and a sports fan in general, I really liked how Carmack centered this around football. While football is a central focus, the relationship between Dallas and Carson weaves its way in and sets up a beautiful romance.
Pacing: I felt like this was well-paced. Carson and Dallas may have jumped in full steam ahead in the beginning, but Carmack slows it back down and pulls them back. Carson is focused on football and Dallas won't let herself date another football player, as the first time ended badly. It makes sense why their relationship progressed slowly even though the sexual tension nearly killed me.
Storyline: I liked the storyline a lot. Having been raised by her football coach dad, Dallas knows all there is to know about football. However, Dallas has always felt she has come second to football, so she's actually grown to abhor it. Rusk University was not her first choice of schools as it is Dallas's dream to dance. She would rather be in New York, but her father is on the overprotective side. They may not have the greatest of relationships, but in that regard he is very diligent. Dallas has been burned by love before with her first real love, Levi, who happens to be Rusk's QB. She is pretty against dating football players, as most are only interested in her to suck up to her dad. However, Carson McClain is different. He's not like the others and that's what sets him apart as much as Dallas tries to deny it. Upon initially meeting, Dallas doesn't know Carson plays football and Carson has no idea she's the coach's daughter. Their chemistry is instantaneous and Dallas definitely steps out of her comfort zone for once and really embraces being a little bit wild and reckless. (Hence why Carson calls her Daredevil.) However, once their worlds collide, the two don't know if they can be something more. Carson is on scholarship and works hard as second string QB and doesn't need the distraction. Dallas wants to protect her heart from getting hurt again and that's why it's probably better if her and Carson are just friends. It's only a matter of time that Dallas and Carson can fight the insane attraction between them, but with so much on the line is that a risk they're willing to take?
Characters: Dallas was a really fun character. I loved that she was a say what you mean kind of girl, even when it could be awkward. That is definitely one of the things that draws Carson to her. She's not really a reckless, wild girl so it's kind of funny he dubs her Daredevil. Her best friend Stella, is the more outgoing one, trying to get Dallas to live on the wild side and to stop over-thinking everything. I felt bad for Dallas, as she has a reputation with the football team thanks to her ex Levi being on it. The running joke is that she is an ice queen and getting in her pants is like getting into Fort Knox. I love how defensive Carson gets of her and how he will literally throw down if they disrespect her.
Carson is a new favorite. He's just a good guy looking to play football. He isn't like his teammates- partying, sleeping around. He works himself to the bone physically and works even harder to keep his grades up. He wants to keep his scholarship and play football, so girls are a distraction he doesn't need. Until he meets Dallas. All bets are off once he lays eyes on the fiery red-head screaming her frustrations out on a balcony.
As I said, their romance is a slower building one. Once they decide not to fight their attraction, they begin a relationship in secret, as Dallas isn't quite ready to face the music with her dad. I did enjoy them together and I liked that they tried to be friends, but the pull between them was just too strong. Both of them are so passionate about what they love, so watching them support and encourage one another was just precious. 
Final Thoughts: I really did like this one. The setting and atmosphere really did it for me, and I liked how relatable Dallas and Carson were. Carmack ends their story realistically too and I felt it was quite fitting.

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  1. I'm really looking forward to reading this one. I love football so I'm excited about that aspect and I also simply love the sound of Dallas and Carson. So glad to hear this is a good read. Great review.

  2. YAY! I am glad you enjoyed this one. I didn't go to a traditional college, so I haven't experienced the atmosphere with football there. But it was something I was close with my step dad with, and going to a Seahawks game? INTENSE lol I love it though.

    Anyway. I agree with you about the ending. I love how she left off their relationship :)

  3. Great review girl! I really liked this book too! Definitely helped me get back my reading mojo a bit. This was the longest review I had written in a while LOL. I loved Dallas and Carson. I really like how strong and yet vulnerable Dallas was. I also liked the building of her relationship with her father too. And of course, Carson. Holy Swoon!

  4. This book sounds amazing. I also really love the college settings. I'll definitely but this one on my to-read list.
    Great review ;)

  5. This does sound like it has a great story line! One I would easily get caught up in! And the characters, definitely ones I would enjoy as well and the slow buildup romance (i love when the romance builds up slowly)!

    Loved this review, and I know I will have to read this one when I can!

  6. The publisher sent me a copy of this, but I wasn't too sure I would put it on my list. I'm glad you liked All Lined Up. You've talked me into giving it a try!

  7. I kept passing this book by and after reading your review I wish I would have requested it. Great review will be adding this to my TBR list :)

  8. Carson has def become a fave of mine and I really liked how Cora made me enjoy a book about football, lol.

  9. Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed this, Jessica! I'm sooo looking forward to reading it. I grew up in Texas and they really do live and breathe football. *ha* So I'm excited about Cora's version of Friday Night Lights. ;)

  10. I'm not sure about the amount of sport in this one! But the characters sound great and I know I love CC's writing so I'll be giving this one a go soon. Great review Jess.


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